Employees of the Bucharest Mechanical Plant will be sent for specialisation in Switzerland, National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor stated on Wednesday, in reference to the partnership with the U.S. company General Dynamics.
“There have been several talks regarding the procurement programme of the 8-wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC) in partnership with General Dynamics. The talks initially revolved around a first order of 94. A difference of 133 APCs to 227 remained, because I remind you that the endowment programme on this segment is approved for 227 carriers. Through the negotiations carried out both at the National Defence Ministry, as well as the Economy Ministry but also in the Gov’t, in the presence of the prime minister, it was agreed upon that a package containing the entire order, of respectively 227 armoured personnel carriers will be discussed. I believe that what was signed yesterday represents a first step of utmost importance because, ultimately, an understanding memorandum and an industrial collaboration agreement are being signed between General Dynamics and the Bucharest Mechanical Plant through ROMARM. Or, this is exactly what we have permanently discussed, about the fact that Romania doesn’t go out shopping with that 2 percent provided for the Army, but wants industrial collaboration programmes in order to revitalise the Romanian defence industry, or implementing this programme with General Dynamics accomplishes precisely that. Technically speaking, by starting with personal carrier no. 31, these will be produced in the Bucharest Mechanical Plant, something that we wish happened permanently,” Mihai Fifor explained.
He expressed hope that in the upcoming period, such collaborations could be achieved that will bring again into the defence industry state-of-the-art equipment.
According to the Defence Minister, the first five carriers from the Mowag line, in Switzerland, will be procured by the end of the year, with a batch of 30 carriers being due for acquisition next year.
Minister Fifor specified that the maintenance of the carriers will also be assured by the Bucharest Mechanical Plant.
The Economy Ministry and ROMARM, through the Bucharest Mechanical Plant and the U.S. company General Dynamics signed on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding and a collaboration agreement, with Prime Minister Mihai Tudose attending the ceremony. General Dynamics owns the Mowag plant, the Swiss armoured personal carriers producer.